When most people think of internships, college probably comes to mind. Participating in at least one internship program during college is becoming an increasingly common practice. Some colleges and universities actually build internship semesters into their degree programs.
However, internship positions are not reserved solely for current college students. In fact, making time for an internship can reap rewards even if you’ve already started your career!
So whether you are currently attending university, are in between jobs, or have already begun your career and are looking for opportunities to branch out and learn some new valuable skills, here are 10 reasons to be an intern!
1. Enhance Your Resume
Employers prefer to hire candidates with experience. They are looking for individuals who have worked in similar settings or held similar positions. Applicants with industry-related internships on their resume are often chosen over other job candidates.
2. Gain New Skills
Internships offer the opportunity to learn or refine your work-related skills, making you a more qualified candidate for job openings. In addition to the learning that comes from trying new things in your day to day work, many internships have mentorship programs in which interns are able to follow closely and learn from an experienced mentor. These mentors model best practices through their example and provide valuable feedback aimed at helping the intern grow and improve.
3. Try Out Different Industries
If you are thinking of a career change or are still trying to make a decision regarding your future career plans, short-term internships are the perfect opportunity to try out different industries and see how they fit. Part-time internships or volunteer commitments will give you experience in the fields you are considering. You’ll be able to compare the strengths and weaknesses of different industries. This can be an important stepping stone in making long-term career decisions.
4. Grow Your Professional Reference List
When it comes time to apply for full-time positions, most reputable employers will ask for a reference list and, in many cases, several recommendation letters from colleagues and mentors. Internships are an excellent way to collect professional references from coworkers that have seen the work that you are capable of. It’s always a good idea to ask for reference letters from each of your internship mentors or bosses.
5. Land Potential Job Openings
One major benefit to becoming an intern is that you learn the inner workings of a particular company or organization. You understand their policies and procedures and are invested in the company life. This knowledge will give you a huge leg up when applying for full-time positions. Some organizations even allow interns to apply for job openings as internal candidates, giving you preference over other outside applicants.
6. Expand Your Network
Professional relationships matter. Having solid connections in your field and industry can make the ultimate difference when it comes to landing a job. Your network connections are a good place to turn when you are job hunting. They can point you towards potential job opportunities. They can also put in a good word for you with their company contacts or serve as one of your references.
7. Develop Your Communication Skills
With the rise of the digital age, employers are finding that strong in-person communication skills are harder to find in potential job candidates. However, the ability to communicate new ideas, appropriate handle conflict, and work productively with a team is necessary for the overall success of any organization. Internships provide the chance to practice and strengthen your communication skills, making you a more valuable part of any team.
8. Try Something New
Individuals grow personally and professionally when they challenge themselves to try new things. Internships provide the opportunity to practice new skills, explore new positions, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. In doing so, you will not only become a more versatile team member or employee, you will become a more well-rounded human being.
9. Explore New Places
If you’ve got a desire to see the world, you’re in luck! There are plenty of internships available in every corner of the world. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to visit Costa Rica or maybe a trip to Australia is on your bucket list. Where you want to go, there are internship programs that could take you there!
10. Expand Your Cultural Horizons
Cultural awareness is becoming an increasingly more important skill both in life and in the workplace. It allows an individual to see and appreciate the differences in those they work with. Cultural awareness also leads to greater curiosity and empathy, traits that highly sought after in productive team members. Internships provide the ability to work with people of all different cultures and backgrounds. If you are lucky enough to land an international internship position, you will have the opportunity for a truly immersive cultural experience!
There’s never a bad time for new learning experiences. Whether you’ve been working for years or you are just starting out, there are so many benefits to participating in a quality internship program.